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History & tradition + technology & innovation = progress

Posted by Peter Messenger
Peter Messenger
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on Sunday, 04 March 2012
in Industry Insights

I have always believed that history and tradition within a fire service is essential to providing effective emergency operations "they've done it this way for years and it seems to be working".

But sometimes emergency services should take a closer look, was it done as best as we can do or is there a better, smarter way?

As technology etches it way into fire fighting and emergency response, some traditions are best left in the fire fighting museum- the introduction of Breathing Apparatus for example- what was once considered something a 'sissy' would wear is now considered essential personal protective equipment.


I think its important to look back at what was done throughout history to realise what works best for a particular scenario. e.g. In the early days of fire fighting, firemen would use fire poles to get from one floor to another, then stairs were installed and the poles taken out. Now as we look back at the effectiveness of poles and the less likelihood of injury as oppose to stairs, fire stations are reinstalling fire poles.


The idea of changing tradition can also hinder progress due to the perceived fear of something new, this comes down the mentality of the workforce what was touched on by Shan Raffel in his article on Professionalism is a state of mind.

If a task is done and the it gets completed without injury then it must work. But does it really work? or was it a coincidence. a closer look at specific fire fighting techniques and training may show a different outcome.

It has always been hard for fire services to gauge the effectiveness of their fire fighting skills. e.g. we turn up in our trucks, get all the hoses out, put lots of water on the fire and eventually it goes out.

There are many variables that may reduce the duration and intensity of the incident, like arrival time or personal protective equipment strength but what is certain is if the water hits the fire quicker thru efficiently laid hose then the smoke and heat damage is reduced.

Throughout the world fire services and Emergency Response Teams all use the same basic lay flat hose, this hose may vary in size but it is used to do the same job.

At QLFA all we have done is coil the hose in a specific way and enclosed it in a very easy user friendly pack allowing fire personnel to deploy their hose closer to the entrance point. We have also identified the standard hose lay requirement. By combining the understanding of the two common requirements of hose lay fire fighters are much better prepared to approach the incident in a precise way.

This efficiency was recently seen in Kathmandu where trainees speaking very little english were packing and deploying their donated packs in 20 minutes.

We are not reinventing the wheel all we are doing is making it spin faster.

  • If your service traditionally use rolled hose then use it with the Attack Pack. You can bowl the rolled hose out and connect and continue on with the Lay Pack or just connect the Attack Pack to the end. This gives you two or three lengths of hose in less than 60 seconds.
  • If your service traditionally uses flaked hose from beds or trays straight off the fire appliance then this hose can be flaked as normal and connected to the Lay or Attack Pack.

However you deploy your hose lines the QLFA Packs will introduce speed, reliability and flexibility to the situation. Check out out suggested hose lay methods here.

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